Since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
In Hebrews 9, the writer talked about the sufficiency of Christ’s death. He said that since Jesus’ death has “taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (9:15). Jesus’ death not only provided forgiveness for us, but it was so powerful that it reached back thousands of years to pay the penalty for those who sinned in the Old Testament.
One of the questions I am frequently asked is, “How were people who lived before the time of Christ saved?” Some people say, “Under the Old Testament you were saved by works; under the New Testament you are saved by grace.” That is heresy. Nobody can be saved by works. Their works were not any more valuable than our works are today. Works never saved anybody. Other people say, “They were saved by offering sacrifices. Today we are saved by the blood of Christ.” There is nothing in the blood of an animal that can save you from your sins. It is only through the blood of Christ that we can be saved. So how were they saved? They were saved on credit.
You understand the idea of credit, don’t you? Let’s say you are getting ready for the Super Bowl and decide you need a new big-screen TV. So you go to Best Buy and see a big-screen TV for $999.99. You get the box, put it in your cart, and go up to the checkout counter. What do you do at the checkout counter? You open up your wallet, get out your credit card, and swipe that card and walk out with the television set. Just think about what an amazing transaction that is. All you have to do is show a piece of plastic that has no worth whatsoever to buy a brand-new TV set. Why is that? Because even though that piece of plastic is worthless, it represents something valuable. It represents a promise to pay at some point in the future. You get the TV now, but later on you have to pay the bill when it comes due.
It is the same way with our salvation. Under the Old Testament sacrificial system, those animal sacrifices were like showing a piece of plastic. Those animal sacrifices were worthless in themselves, but they represented a promise to pay in the future. God is the one who paid when He offered His Son, Jesus Christ, as the satisfaction for our sins, and that is why Jesus’ words on the cross were so meaningful. When Jesus was on the cross, He said, “It is finished!” (John 19:30). In Greek, this means “paid in full.” Jesus paid the bill in full when it came due.
How were people saved in the Old Testament? The same way we are saved today. Everyone is saved by accepting the blood offering of Jesus Christ for their sins. Some were saved beforehand by believing it on credit. Today we look back and believe what was done. But it is only through the blood of Christ that any of us is saved.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Where There Is A Will, There Is A Body” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2018.
Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.